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Review: WITCH TALES (2019)

The horror comics of the 1950s were a great influence on a lot of writers and filmmakers. Before they were neutered by the Comic Code Authority in 1954 they served up monthly doses of nasty goings-on and surprisingly graphic violence for the time. Most people are familiar with EC Comics and their most popular titles, Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror. However, there were plenty of other companies competing with EC. Writer/director Mike Lyddon (First Man on Mars, Horror Anthology Movie Volume 1) has adapted three of them for his latest film, Witch Tales.

First up we meet our hostess for the evening, The Witch (Mayella Lloclla). She introduces the segments while working on a brew for a new spell. Think of her as a somewhat more modestly dressed Evira.

The first segment “Cycle of Horror” is based on a story from Chamber of Chills. A pair of unnamed thieves (Oscar Babilionia, Renato Babilonia) kill a man for his money. Then an attempted double-cross leads to one of them killing the other. The survivor soon learns that “No rest for the wicked” is more than just a saying.

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This episode features some effectively gross effects depicting a rat chewed corpse. The ending won’t be a huge surprise. Considering how well-used the stories in all of these comics have been over the years, that’s to be expected though.

The Witch pops back in to talk about ingredients and set up the next segment.

The second of our Witch Tales, “Experiment in Terror”, comes from Haunted Thrills magazine. Robert (Erick Lopez) and Maria (Fiorella Vergel) are in love and need to find a place to live after their wedding. They think they’ve found the perfect place, but it’s a trap. Doctor Chadwick (Raul Chamorro) has just volunteered them for his experiment to find out if love is stronger than hunger.

There are a couple of references to H.P. Lovecraft and Reanimator scattered through this episode. And the use of an instrumental version of Joy To The World over the final shots is wonderfully absurd and had me laughing.

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A group of trick or treaters show up, and our hostess invites them in for a special treat.

The final segment, “Bon Appetit”, doesn’t list the comic it’s from. It’s the story of a renowned chef (Mario Maldonado) who neglects his wife and seriously ill son to spend his time and money on his mistress (Carmen Cabrera). When this leads to the boy’s death, revenge is on the menu.

Another one with a fairly predictable outcome, it’s probably the weakest segment. Even the effects are mostly sub-par, which ruined what could have been a memorable final shot.

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Witch Tales ends with a look at the results of our hostess’s spell as some strangely familiar ghouls compare what they have in their Halloween bags.

Drawing its inspiration from the same comics that inspired the original Creepshow, Witch Tales can’t match it on budget, effects or star power. But it does have plenty of talent and enthusiasm. It hits the target much more often than it misses. As long as you know you’re getting a microbudget film, you should have a good time.

According to the press release, Witch Tales is the first anthology film shot in Peru and was filmed in both Spanish and English. The version I saw was the Spanish one with readable, and understandable, English subtitles.

Witch Tales recently played the Horror-On-Sea film festival. You can check for screenings and release plans on the web and on Facebook.

Where to watch Witch Tales
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